“Be Happy, Even on the Bad Days.” Guest Lesson by Kara Carter

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this said to me. Yet, I consider myself a happy person. Yes, I’ve had a plenty of really shitty days this semester, but I’m happy.

There’s a difference between being in a happy mood and being happy. You will have days where the world literally just shits on you and nothing goes right. It’s called a bad day and a bad day cannot last longer than 24 hours. It’s impossible.

“But days make weeks” you say? Well, I’m glad you have your math skills down, but bad weeks do not define your happiness. Neither do bad months, bad semesters, or bad years. Your mood, and the way people perceive your happiness, might be altered by these, but not your happiness.

For me, I’ve had a bad semester, in the sense that most of the days I was in a bad, sad, upset, stress mood. I’ve been too busy for normal college stuff – I can count the number of times I’ve been drunk without using all the fingers on a single hand. But I am happy. I’ve dealt with the normal college stuff: procrastination, heartbreak, bad grades, no sleep, etc. But, I am happy.

I continue to outwardly express my moods (let’s be honest, no one is actually good at hiding their mood), which can easily be perceived as unhappiness, but that doesn’t mean I am unhappy. That does not mean that every person you see in a bad mood on a regular basis is not happy. The reality of life is that no one is ever going to be in a happy mood all the time, or even that majority of the time. Everyone is not going to be working in job that makes them happy each day. No one will ever only take classes that make them happy. No one will always be happy about classes they enjoy taking. No one will ever be happy 100% of the time in any relationship – significant other or friendship. Life does not work like that.

Life works by accepting that these are just moods, learning from what’s happening, and realizing that your state of happiness is greater than your mood. There are things, often taken for granted, to appreciate on those bad days that contribute to your happiness, like being able to go to college, having your family, your friends, your housing, etc.

There are also big things, like yourself. You might be bummed that you didn’t get to study as much for that exam, drank a little too much this weekend, care too much about someone you shouldn’t, or you haven’t been eating well. But you? You’re still awesome. You’re still beautiful. You’re still strong. You…    are…    still…   learning. You should still be happy with yourself. For the beautiful disaster your life is and always will be.

So be happy, please. I’m not asking for a happy mood, I’m asking you to remember to be genuinely happy – about yourself, about your opportunities, about the people who walk into your life, about the ones who walk out – about your life.

Be happy :)

-Lesson by Kara Carter

Kara Carter is a junior dietetics major and Spanish minor at James Madison University, who loves to be involved in way too many things. She has a son named Milo who is almost a year old—oh—and he’s a chinchilla. Kara says: “Mia’s lessons are usually exactly what I need to hear so, I hope mine has the same impact on one of you.”

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